The Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office has confirmed that former Fort Worth Police Officer Aaron Dean, 35, has been indicted on a murder charge in the Oct. 12 shooting death of 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson, Dallas News reports.
“Atatiana’s family is relived [sic] but remain cautious that a conviction and appropriate sentence is still a long way away,” Lee Merritt, an attorney for Jefferson’s family, tweeted. “Keep pushing.”
As ESSENCE previously reported, Jefferson was in her home playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew before she was killed. Her neighbor James Smith, who became concerned when he noticed the lights on and the front door open, used a non-emergency police line to request that someone go check on her.
“The front doors have [been] open since 10:00 [p.m.] and I haven’t seen anybody moving around,” Smith told the dispatcher, according to audio released by the police department. “It’s not normal for them to have both doors open at this time.”
“Put your hands up! Show me your hands!” Dean can be heard yelling on body cam footage. He did not identify himself as a police officer before firing through the window a moment later.
Dean resigned before he could be fired, Police Chief Ed Kraus said at the time.
“He resigned before his opportunity to be cooperative,” Kraus said. “Had the officer not resigned, I would have fired him for violations for several policies, including our use of force policy, our de-escalation policy and unprofessional conduct.”
Dean, the first police officer to be charged with murder in Tarrant County, Texas, shot Jefferson to death less than one week after former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was found guilty of murdering Botham Jean in his own home, which she claims to have mistaken for her own.